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What To Serve With Polenta – 45 BEST Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your polenta, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 45 of the most popular side dishes for polenta.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best dishes to serve with polenta are shrimp scampi, skillet meatballs, osso bucco, pan-seared lamb chops, and ratatouille. Try chickpea marsala, asparagus and zucchini salad, tomato confit, or collard greens for more vegetable options. Sauteed mushrooms or berry compote are great for breakfast.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Crispy baked shrimp scampi

Serve a twist on the traditional shrimp and grits with this crispy scampi.

The panko and parmesan topping will bring some much-needed texture to the meal, and it will come together in just 15 minutes!

The recipe calls for white wine, but you can sub in chicken broth or extra lemon juice. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s restaurant quality.

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Baked shrimp scampi
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Saucy Greek baked shrimp

Chickpea mushroom marsala

Do you take part in meatless Mondays? Give this chickpea marsala a try.

Tender chickpeas and mushrooms are cooked in a marsala wine-based sauce, infusing them with a tasty caramelized, nutty flavor.

The sauce is superb spooned over a bed of polenta.

Why we love this recipe: it’s dairy-free and meat-free.

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Chickpea mushroom marsala
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Mushroom and chickpea coconut curry
Another meat-free protein
Baked pesto tofu bites

Spicy collard greens

Take inspiration from Southern cuisine and serve your polenta with a topping of these collard greens

They’re cooked slowly, making them tender and silky, and have a fiery kick courtesy of the red pepper flakes and hot sauce. 

But what makes these extra fabulous is their concentrated broth, which you can drizzle all over your polenta.

Why we love this recipe: it’s nutritious comfort food.

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Spicy collard greens
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Turkey meatballs in marinara sauce

Meatballs aren’t just for pasta – they’re superb with polenta too! 

The savory meatballs and rich marinara sauce will work perfectly with cheesy polenta. 

Their recipe makes the meatballs from scratch,  but if you’re in a time crunch, it’s fine to use frozen ones.

Why we love this recipe: it’s excellent for family dinners.

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Skillet meatballs in marinara sauce
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Ricotta zucchini meatballs
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Swedish meatballs

Berry compote

Fancy a sweet treat for breakfast?

Swirl this blueberry compote into your polenta.

And if you want to go the extra mile, you can mix some coconut or cashew cream in as well for a touch of creaminess.

Why we love this recipe: it lasts for up to a month in the fridge, so you have ages to enjoy it.

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Blueberry compote
Swap the fruit
Stewed strawberries
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Roasted figs

Osso bucco

Turn your polenta into the ultimate comfort meal by topping it with a fresh-off-the-stove osso bucco. 

Making this stew isn’t quick or easy, but you’ll be rewarded with fall-off-the-bone beef and a rich, hearty, finger-lickingly good stew.

Psst… make it more traditional by using veal shanks. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s budget-friendly.

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Tomato confit

Tomato confit are cherry tomatoes that have been slow-roasted in olive oil and herbs. 

They’re super juicy and bursting with delectable sweet and acidic flavors that add some complexity to a simple-looking dish.

Pro tip: don’t throw away the leftover oil – you can use it for cooking.

Why we love this recipe: there’s no hands-on cooking, and the prep just takes one minute.

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Sauteed mushrooms

These sauteed mushrooms are an excellent way to add a savory note to your polenta without using meat. 

Sauteing them with butter and fresh garlic enhances their natural umami flavors and keeps them juicy.

Pair these with your polenta, a poached egg, and confit tomatoes for a fancy brunch.

Why we love this recipe: it works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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Dried wild mushroom ragu
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Tuscan mushroom sauce

Cioppino

If you’re a seafood lover, this dish is for you.

It’s an Italian dish of shellfish cooked in a light tomato broth. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it’s UH-mazing.

Pro-tip: no access to fish stock? Clam juice will work too.

Why we love this recipe: it will turn your poletna into something extraordinary.

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Summer vegetable stew

Guacamole

Turn your polenta into a party food by topping it with some guacamole.

This works best with solid polenta, so small polenta cakes that become mini canapes. YUM!

I like to sprinkle on some pico de gallo to.

Psst… you can also use guacamole as a dip for polenta fries.

Why we love this recipe: the jalapenos added in the guac add a spicy kick to your meal.

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Quick pickled onions

These pickled onions are perfect little palate cleansers.

They have a crisp-tender bite and a sharp flavor – just what you need to cut through all the rich stews that go with polenta.

Why we love this recipe: they will add a nice pop of color to your meal.

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Ratatouille

Ratatouille may sound intimidating, but it couldn’t be easier to make. 

This recipe calls for cooking each vegetable by themselves first, which ensures that the end result isn’t just a big pile of mush!

It’s a great way of using up old veg too.

Why we love this recipe: it’s naturally healthy and vegan-friendly.

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Ratatouille
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Layered ratatouille
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Peperonata

Pan-seared lamb chops

Jazz up date night with a meal of seared lamb chops over a bed of goat cheese polenta. 

If you’ve never cooked lamb chops before, don’t worry – the key is to salt your chops generously, use high heat, and baste them with butter to keep them moist.

And some forget to spoon some pan juices over your polenta.

Why we love this recipe: it’s so elegant.

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Chicken cacciatore

This rustic, hearty stew is brimming with tangy flavors from tomatoes, olives, and capers.

It’s crying out for some polenta to come and soak up all the sauce.

And it freezes really well, so you can make a big batch and enjoy it next week too!

Why we love this recipe: you can’t go wrong with the classics.

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Chicken cacciatore
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Spanish chicken stew
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Tofu cacciatore

Grilled asparagus and zucchini salad

To keep things light, try this grilled asparagus and zucchini salad with a lemon basil vinaigrette.

It features a delightful combination of smoky and zesty flavors.

Pro tip: try adding a sprinke of feta to round the dish off.

Why we love this recipe: it’s great for summer.

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Grilled bacon-wrapped asparagus
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Roasted asparagus and tomatoes

What meat goes well with polenta?

Polenta is a superb side to various meat dishes. I love serving it with pan-seared lamb chops for a fancy meal. But if you want something saucy, try creamy pork tenderloin, Chicken cacciatore, osso bucco, meatballs, or baked shrimp scampi. 

The best meat dishes to serve with polenta:

What To Serve With Polenta

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your polenta.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: polenta side dishes, what to serve with polenta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 370kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 portion poletna

Instructions

  • Prepare your polenta according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: crispy baked shrimp scampi, chickpea mushroom marsala, spicy collard greens, turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, berry compote, osso bucco, tomato confit, sauteed mushrooms, cioppino, guacamole, quick pickled onions, ratatouille, pan-seared lamb chops, chicken cacciatore, and grilled asparagus and zucchini salad.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 370kcal

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